The New York City Comptroller’s office marked the two-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy with a dire report on the expected costs of the next big storm. Based on updated flood insurance maps from FEMA, the report finds that over $129 billion worth of property sits within the city’s 100-year floodplain – an increase of more than 120% from earlier maps. (100-year flood zones cover areas that have a 1% chance of flooding each year.) “In short, FEMA’s revised maps depict a greatly expanded floodplain that places almost three and a half times as many structures in high-risk zones and anticipates greater severity of flooding for those buildings already in the flood zone,” reads the report. “This new landscape holds important implications for resiliency investments, flood insurance, and the role of government in protecting homeowners from the next great storm.”
Archtober Building of the Day #28
Times Square Reconstruction
Broadway and Seventh Avenue (West 42nd to West 47th Streets)
“Looking for calm within the chaos,” was how Nick Koster of Snøhetta, described the firm’s design for the Times Square Reconstruction. Just then a topless woman dressed as a super hero sashayed past the Archtober tour group, which contained about a dozen school children.
Archtober Building of the Day #27
Riverside Health Center
160 West 100th Street
Among my favorite things about Archtober are the enthusiasts who show up and add color and detail to the architects’ stories about their projects. Today, in addition to a solid performance by 1100 Architect’s Juergen Riehm and Dominic Griffin, we were amply blessed with a number of locals, or, as Winifred Armstrong self-described, “camp followers.” Sally Yap of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene also supplemented our understanding of this new renovation project.
Archtober Building of the Day #26> SLO Architecture adds art to Middletown Road Station in the Bronx
Archtober Building of the Day #26
Middletown Road Station
Middletown Road & Westchester Avenue, Bronx
The “steel river,” as Alexander Levi of SLO Architecture referred to the Pelham Line #6 train on last weekend’s Archtober tour, makes its way north towards Pelham Bay, crossing over four different waterways along its route. These bodies of water are cleaner now than they used to be, due in part to community-based efforts to clear unwanted debris and waste. As a result, plants and animals have returned to the area, and a feeling of pride has returned to the community. To uphold this stewardship and help maintain the waterways, Levi and Amanda Schachter of SLO designed Cross-Bronx Waterway for the Middletown Road Station, commissioned by MTA Arts & Design and chosen through a panel process.
Archtober Building of the Day #24
Kings County Distillery
63 Flushing Avenue, Brooklyn
Three days of Archtober rain have finally given way to a chilly day washed clear—perfect weather for an adventure to the Brooklyn Navy Yard. A crowd of Archtober faithful was on hand (despite the conspicuous post-Heritage Ball hangover of the author) for a hair of the dog moment with Master Distiller Colin Spoelman and architect John Bedard at the Kings County Distillery.
Archtober Building of the Day #23
NYU School of Professional Studies
7 East 12th Street
Mitchell | Giurgola Architects, LLP
A rainy day did not deter Archtober, and the hardy were amply rewarded with an up-to-the-minute view of an urban university hard at work. I want to change the name to “multi-versity” to capture the many different functions, schools, demographics, studies, and programs that the ever expanding universe of NYU now comprises. A recent addition is the newly renamed School of Professional Studies on 12th Street. Carol Loewenson and Stephen Dietz of Mitchell-Giurgola Architects, led the tour of the renovated Fairchild Printing Building. Projects like these—complex renovations where some operations must be maintained in place—require the steady, strong leadership of architects who find the puzzle of programmatic problem solving the bread and butter of successful practice.
Archtober Building of the Day #22
Jacob K. Javits Convention Center
655 West 34th Street
Designed by Pei Cobb in the early 1980s, the Jacob K. Javits Center had fallen into a considerable slump in the years following its debut. Plagued with structural problems, today’s Archtober tour leader and head of the building’s extensive overhaul, Bruce Fowle, began in the center’s Crystal Palace by showing photos of the space before his firm’s massive undertaking. He highlighted two of the worst features of the original structure—the dirty, impossible-to-clean glass and extensive water damage. Almost immediately after opening, large canvas “diapers” were constructed to catch the ever-leaking roof, costing the center nearly one million dollars a year to alleviate the constant influx of water.
Archtober Building of the Day #21
Runner & Stone
285 Third Avenue
Karla Rothstein and her partner Sal Perry are Latent Productions. They, along with Baker Peter Endriss served up a very nice helping of both delicious snacks and spiffy new architecture on yesterday’s Archtober tour. With a full tour of enthusiasts and architects, Karla and Sal described their self-initiated process of design, development, and construction management. They first prototyped, then fabricated the puffy custom concrete blocks that evoke the sacks of flour waiting to become bread that are the design hallmark of the restaurant, Runner & Stone, in Brooklyn.
Archtober Building of the Day #20
Donald Judd Home and Studio
101 Spring Street
Architecture Research Office; Walter B. Melvin Architects
The Soho of the 1970s has come and gone, grungy artists’ studios replaced by glitzy storefronts and luxury condos. However, two decades after artist Donald Judd passed away in 1994, his presence still permeates 101 Spring Street. It’s in the nooks he carved out for his children and his books, his kitchenware and furniture, and, most of all, his art.